ADL CALLS ON CONGRESS TO REJECT RELIGIOUS EQUALITY AMENDMENT
AND UPHOLD RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
Washington, DC, November 16, 1995...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today
called on Congress to reject a proposed Religious Equality Amendment, introduced
yesterday by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL).
David H. Strassler, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National
Director, issued the following statement:
We believe Congress and the American people should reject this destructive
constitutional amendment with an appealing name. This proposed amendment
is nothing more than a cleverly-packaged effort to overturn numerous Supreme
Court precedents on prayer in schools and church-state separation.
We already have a Constitutional Amendment to protect religious expression
-- the First Amendment. This new proposal would threaten religious liberty
by eroding the essential separation between church and state.
We understand that many who advocate school prayer see it as a means of
addressing a perceived moral vacuum in our society. We support teaching
American children moral values, but one such value must be respect for our
differences. In a pluralistic, religiously and ethnically diverse society,
no matter how troubled, a school prayer constitutional amendment is not
In April, ADL joined a broad interreligious coalition of 35 groups in releasing
"A Joint Statement of Current Law" on religion in the public schools.
This document was later adapted by President Clinton and the Department
of Education for distribution to every school district in America.
Religion and religious views have not been banned from public school classrooms.
The document released last April -- ironically signed by some of the same
groups who are now promoting this new constitutional amendment -- demonstrates
clearly that there is no need for a constitutional amendment on public religious
expression or school prayer.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.